Philip Kingston is the City Council representative for Dallas' District 14, the architect of the oh-so-close attempt to elect a progressive (read: anti-Trinity toll road) majority to the council. Gary Fitzsimmons is Dallas County's outspoken former district clerk. Both men share an obsessive commitment to local politics. Both men sometimes lack a filter. And both men, it appears, share a deep and petulant dislike for one another. If Kingston and Fitzsimmons were middle schoolers, they might trade sophomoric insults in the lunch line or in the hall before fifth period. But they are grownups, so they do it on Facebook.
Here's the setup: On Friday evening City Council member Scott Griggs, a Kingston ally, posted on Facebook that City Manager A.C. Gonzalez had just slipped $535 million in contracts onto the consent agenda to the addendum to Wednesday's City Council meeting. For a detailed breakdown of why this is sneaky and bad, see Wylie H.'s Frontburner post. Fitzsimmons, however, is apparently sick of Griggs' do-gooder politician shtick . A couple of hours later, he jumped into the comments on Griggs' post, interrupting what had been a steady stream of attaboys to accuse Griggs of turning a totally routine molehill into a sinister City Hall conspiracy, with a parting shot at Griggs' North Oak Cliff base — i.e. "your toney buddies in Kessler/Stevens":
He doubled down the next morning with a link to the council addendum and a wish that "my neighbors to the north [Fitzsimmons, per DCAD, owns a home in the south-of-Kessler-Park neighborhood of Elmwood] would kindly quit reacting like Pavlov's dogs to the latest species of rank demagoguery from the pen of councilman Griggs."
And then he doubled down some more when he "respectfully" called Griggs a liar:
Former City Council member John Loza hopped in to defend Griggs and criticize Fitzsimmons for being friends with "one of the dumbest people ever to serve at City Hall — paid political whore Craig Holcomb." Fitzsimmons ignored that broadside. But then, around noon on Monday, Kingston chimed in to sardonically compliment him for the unparalleled accomplishment of writing "the single dumbest thing on Facebook."
Fitzsimmons, who once declared himself "lucky to be functioning around a 17 year old level most of the time" following a Facebook rant against a sitting Dallas County judge, trumped Kingston's rather uninspired burn with a far sicker burn of his own, to wit: "As a well-known third-rate lawyer and Tea Party Republican, I understand the difficulty you face in stringing together a coherent sentence."
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For those keeping score, Fitzsimmons had sicker burns, but he also took several hours to unleash them. Kingston delivered his go-work-in-one-of-Texas'-other-253-counties riposte in just two minutes. But really, there are no winners here. Except for us, who get to watch elected officials bicker like middle schoolers. This is almost as good as that time Kingston was posting about boobs during a council meeting.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.